Ransomware is a form of malicious software that locks up the files on your computer, encrypts them, and demands that you pay to get your files back.
Wanna Decryptor, or WannaCry, is a form of ransomware that affects the Microsoft’s Windows Operating System. When a system is infected, a pop up window appears, prompting you to pay to recover all your files within three days, with a countdown timer on left of the window.
It adds that if you fail to pay within that time, fee will be doubled, and if you don’t pay within seven days, you will lose files forever. Payment is accepted only with Bitcoin.
How does it spread?
According to US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (USCRT), under Department of Homeland Security, ransomware spreads easily when it encounters unpatched or outdated software.
Experts say that WannaCry is spread by an internet worm software that spreads copies of itself by hacking into the other computers on a network, rather than usual case of prompting unsuspecting users to open the attachments.
It is believe that cyber attack was carried out with help of tools stolen from National Security Agency (NSA) of United States.
Some forms of malware can lock computer entirely, or set off a series of pop-ups that are nearly impossible to close, thereby hindering with your work.
What can be done to prevent this?
The best way to protect your computer is to create regular backups of your files.
Malware only affects the files that exist in the computer. If you have created a thorough backup and your machine is infected with the ransomware, you can reset your machine to begin on a clean slate, reinstall software and restore your files from Backup.
According to the Microsoft’s Malware Protection Centre, other precautions are –
- regularly updating your anti-virus program; enabling the pop-up blockers;
- updating all software periodically;
- ensure smart screen (in Internet Explorer) is turned on, which helps identify reported phishing and malware websites;
- avoid opening the attachments that may appear suspicious.
Who has it affected so far?
It was first reported from Sweden, Britain and France, but Russia and Taiwan are said to be worst hit, according to the US media.
Over 75,000 systems have been affected.
The major companies that have reported attacks are the FedEx, Telefonica and the National Health Service (UK).
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